Fred Middleton

Subject area

I grew up a stone’s throw from Loughborough, so I have always known about the university’s high reputation for engineering, which made it the obvious choice when looking at studying as a mature student. I enrolled originally to study Mechanical Engineering upon completion of a foundation year but after taking an 'Introduction to Materials' module I very quickly switched to Materials Science and Engineering.

The facilities available at Loughborough are very good. The STEMLab allows us to test the theory learnt in lectures which really helps with understanding the topics. There are also many study spaces in STEMLab and S Building which are brilliant for individual study.

Within the Department of Materials there is a large range of support available. Lecturers are happy for you to knock on their office door and answers any questions you have about the course content. There is pastoral care available from the department and the university. The university also has a very good careers department to help with CV writing and job applications.

The most enjoyable part of my course was the final year project. This is where the three years of study all comes together, and you get to focus on area that interests you. During your project you get use of the equipment in Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre (LMCC), which allows you to obtain very high-quality results.

During the summer, between second and third year, I did an internship at Sellafield Ltd, where I worked within their materials department. The knowledge I had gained during the first two years of my degree enabled me to integrate into the work instantly and allowed me to see how industry operates. Now that I have completed my degree, I have accepted a role with Babcock International in a materials-based role. The knowledge I built during my final year project really helped in me deciding which area I really wanted to focus on.

Fred Middleton

One of the opportunities that I got to experience was a visit to the Rolls Royce site in Derbyshire where a Loughborough materials alumnus showed us around the facility and talked to us about how his degree has been advantageous within the company.

The university often arranges alumni to come and present on campus as part of the ‘Personal Best’ scheme and allows you to see and hear from successful alumni from all disciplines. Hearing them talk proudly about how Loughborough has helped them to progress and how we are all a part of the Loughborough Family was very inspiring and reaffirmed that I had made the correct choice with Loughborough.

I was a member of the sailing society during my time at Loughborough; I had not sailed in a very long time and wanted to try it again. For me it was an opportunity to get away from university for a few hours and relax, but there are opportunities to compete for the university too.

My greatest achievement at Loughborough has to be successfully completing my degree, finishing during a pandemic was not how I pictured university ending and raised obstacles that I could not of foreseen, but the department and university helped to try and make it as smooth as possible.

My advice for someone considering this course is to be open to all of the different options available, materials has such a wide range of possible routes and you may end up enjoying an area that initially you dismissed.

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